It’s amazing to see how crypto enthusiasts have gotten to a point where they would literally take every word uttered out of Elon Musk‘s mouth as the gospel of investment—even when he was just reading something off of a strictly scripted comedy show that was intended as a joke.
This past weekend, the Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX CEO hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live” watched by millions around the world. During the show’s fake news segment Weekend Update, Musk played an investment expert who struggled to explain what Dogecoin was when the anchor Michael Che repeatedly asked him the question.
Toward the end of the segment, Musk’s character said, “Dogecoin is an unstoppable financial system that’s going to take over the world.” “So, it’s a hustle?” Che responded. “Yeah, it’s a hustle,” Musk shrugged.
Lloyd Ostertag stopped by the desk to talk cryptocurrency. pic.twitter.com/cuILxOBJlj
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) May 9, 2021
The bit set off a wild round of Dogecoin trading in the ensuing hours. The cryptocurrency’s price tumbled 40 percent, trading as low as 43 cents early Sunday, wiping out nearly $20 billion in its market value.
Price recovered slightly in the afternoon hours and jumped to 57 cents Sunday evening after Musk posted a tweet announcing that SpaceX would begin accepting Dogecoin as payment to launch a satellite to the moon next year. (Tesla has already accepted Bitcoin as payment for its electric cars and software.)
The satellite will be named Doge-1. Musk stressed that it will be the first space mission paid by a cryptocurrency.
SpaceX launching satellite Doge-1 to the moon next year
– Mission paid for in Doge
– 1st crypto in space
– 1st meme in space
To the mooooonnn!!https://t.co/xXfjGZVeUW
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2021
Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency inspired by a Shiba Inu meme from 2013. Musk, along with the investor Mark Cuban and the rapper Snoop Dogg, are among its biggest advocates, often posting endorsements of the digital coin on social media and encouraging their fans to buy into the hype.
Dollar value of the meme-inspired coin had soared to an all-time high in the days leading up to Musk’s SNL debut. It’s up 800 percent in May alone and has gained over 12,000 percent in 2021 so far.
“Many people view Doge as the ‘people’s cryptocurrency’ because it was created as a joke,” Ben Weiss, CEO of CoinFlip, a leading cryptocurrency ATM provider, told Observer. “Major players and corporations are unlikely to buy in and manipulate the market or understand that it could be a viable currency. Elon has echoed this sentiment.”
Last Friday, ahead of his SNL appearance, Musk warned his 53 million Twitter fans that “cryptocurrency is promising, but please invest with caution.” In a linked video from February, he said it would be “unwise” for people to invest their life savings in cryptocurrencies.
“Never invest anything you aren’t willing to lose,” Weiss said. “If you like Dogecoin and think it could be a viable currency in the future, or are fans of the idea and the movement, go ahead and invest in it. If you don’t like it or think it’s a fad, don’t invest in it.”